Blog  /  Raspberry Pi Zero W Projects: A Comprehensive Guide

Raspberry Pi Zero W Projects: A Comprehensive Guide

The Raspberry Pi Foundation released the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W in October 2021. Like its predecessors, it sports a more compact design than the Raspberry Pi 4. However, it features improvements over previous iterations. These advancements include a 64-bit system-in-package 1GHz processor. It’s at least five times faster than the original Raspberry Pi Zero. Thus, let’s explore how you can take advantage of its enhancements by investigating some of the best Raspberry Pi Zero W projects.

 

Raspberry Pi Zero W Projects

 

Raspberry Pi Zero W, 4 Model-B, and sensors on a laptop

Raspberry Pi Zero W, 4 Model-B, and sensors on a laptop

 

Besides its small design, hobbyists and engineers may prefer the Raspberry Pi Zero W over the Raspberry Pi 4 because it’s cheaper. At its release, The Raspberry Pi Foundation priced it at $15. Its affordability makes it disposable and easy to replace.

Hence why it’s highly suitable for beginner projects; however, before exploring what tasks you can undertake, we suggest you read over the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W’s specs. It will allow you to understand its capabilities and help you formulate your project ideas in the future.

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W specs are as follows:

 

11 Best Raspberry Pi Zero W Projects

 

Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi Zero comparison

Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi Zero comparison

 

Now that we’ve covered the specs and you have an idea of what the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W can do, we can start exploring some cool projects you can pursue.

 

Raspberry Pi Zero W Wi-Fi Security Camera

 

Raspberry Pi Zero with Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera V2

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Raspberry Pi Zero with Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera V2

 

Because safety and privacy are always concerns for many people, building a Wi-Fi security camera with your Raspberry Pi Zero is one of the most worthwhile projects. Constructing this project will allow you to work with MotionEyeOS, an operating system for surveillance on smart and mobile devices. The task is easy enough to build. However, you will require a few materials in addition to your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

 

Additional Requirements

 

  • Raspberry Pi compatible Power Supply (Adapter)
  • 8GB capacity Micro SD Card
  • Raspberry Pi Camera
  • The Raspberry Pi Zero Case
  • Raspberry Pi Ribbon Cable

 

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Web Server

 

If you’re looking for a low-cost web development project, you may consider using your Raspberry Pi Zero web server. The project will allow you to host and run web applications and sites. If you’re a web designer or developer, you can use this to deploy and test your application. Nevertheless, you do need much to build it. However, the project will require you to download the Raspberry Pi OS and flash it on the device.

 

Additional Requirements

 

  • Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W compatible Micro USB connector
  • Micro SD card with at least 8GB of storage capacity
  • Win32 Disk Imager (for flashing)
  • Putty

 

Raspberry Pi Zero W Adblocker (Pi-Hole)  

 

Using your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W as a network-wide ad-blocker and DNS server is another interesting and easy project. It’s as easy as connecting the Raspberry Pi Zero to your network, downloading the Pi-hole software, and flashing your Raspberry Pi.

 

Additional Requirements

 

  • 16GB Capacity Micro SD Card
  • 5A Micro USB AC Power Supply
  • Micro USB to RJ45 Ethernet Adapter
  • Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W case/enclosure
  • Ethernet cable
  • Heat sink
  • Mini HDMI cable

 

Dride Dashboard Camera

 

If you’re a beginner, the best projects to pursue may be ones that have a lot of support. Dride is one such project. At its core, it’s an Alexa-powered smart mini dash-cam for your car. It saves and uploads your video footage to the Dride cloud.

You can learn how to build and use this project from the official Dride website. Because it takes advantage of the Raspberry Pi Zero’s compactness, you can fit it on the rear or front windshields. Furthermore, Dride has a thriving community of drivers and programmers. Thus, you can visit the subreddit or forum if you get stuck or need support.

 

Additional Requirements

 

  • Pi Camera
  • 3m Micro USB Cable
  • Dride-Case
  • Dride-Hat
  • Micro SD card with at least 8GB of capacity

 

Mini Self-Driving Car

 

Droid self-driving car

Droid self-driving car

Suppose you’re into artificial intelligence and machine learning (this project may be up your alley). It’s important to note that this project is more challenging than the previous project we have listed in this guide. Furthermore, it’s slightly more expensive to build.

It involves building a small self-driving car similar to a robot vacuum. We recommend purchasing a 3D printer before pursuing this project. Alternatively, you can take the component designs to a 3D printing facility. You can learn more about the project from the official hackaday page.

 

Additional Requirements

 

  • The main base for the self-driving car (stl)
  • Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W mounting frame (stl)
  • Camera mount (stl)

Additional Requirements

 

Retro Video Game Emulator

 

Gaming consoles have become extremely powerful over the last 30 years. Today, we’re capable of running old games on smaller hardware. You can use your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W as an emulator by installing the RetroPie operating system on it. Additionally, you can modify this project by adding a portable screen. Visit the Bytes N Bits helpful tutorial to learn more about this project.

 

Additional Requirements

 

  • USB Gamepad
  • MicroSD with 32GB Capacity (or more)
  • Raspberry Pi W 2 Zero Compatible Power Supply
  • Raspberry Pi W 2 Enclosure
  • Mini HDMI Cable
  • Micro HDMI Adapter
  • Micro SD Card reader
  • Phillips Screwdriver

 

Smart Ambient Light For TVs and Monitors

 

TV with ambient lighting

TV with ambient lighting

 

You can use your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W to create and control intelligent LED lighting. This project makes this a valuable feature by helping you add ambient lighting effects to your TV or game monitor. It’s a straightforward project. However, you can find more details on the Instructables page. Before you try to work on this project, first scan through the prerequisite materials to see if you can afford them.

 

Additional Requirements

 

  • APA102 LED Strip
  • HDMI Splitter
  • HDMI 2 AV Converter
  • Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Compatible Power Supply
  • USB Video Grabber
  • USB Hub
  • Wi-Fi Dongle
  • Wago Terminal
  • Velcro Tape

 

Kodi Home Theater

 

Despite the popularity of Smart TVs, media players are still in demand. However, they can be pretty expensive. You can get around this by converting your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W into a miniature media player that uses Kodi. You can learn more about this project from DroneBot’s official tutorial.

Additional Requirements

 

  • Monitor
  • Micro USB cable
  • USB hub
  • Monitor/TV Screen
  • Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Compatible Mini/Micro HDMI Cable
  • MicroSD Card (8GB Capacity)

 

Smart IoT Alarm Clock

 

There are many modules and sensor types that you can pair with your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. The Smart IoT alarm clock is an excellent example of this. Again, it’s one of the more advanced projects on this list. As such, it will take a bit of work to construct correctly.

This simple project requires you to 3D print and build an enclosure for your alarm clock. You can learn more about the project from the official Smart Alarm Wiki. Nevertheless, before you attempt this project, we recommend that you scan through the prerequisites and additional requirements.

 

Additional Requirements

 

Additional Requirements

 

Internet-Connected Information Display

 

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W allows you to create a lot of handy electronics. One of them is an information display. It can potentially show you network information, the weather, the date, the time, push notifications, etc. The project is easy enough to assemble but will require some coding. You can find the tutorial on the creator’s page.

 

Additional Requirements:

 

  • Adafruit 128x64 SSD1306 OLED
  • Wi-Fi Dongle (creator recommends Edimax Wi-Fi dongle)
  • Large push buttons x2
  • 3m Micro USB Cable
  • Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Compatible Power Supply

 

Raspberry Pi Zero W Drone

 

Aeromodelling

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Aeromodelling

 

Drones can be pretty expensive. Building a Raspberry Pi Zero W drone is one of the most popular and involved projects on this list. The materials of this project have a combined cost of less than $200. This drone project uses a Linux-based operating system to relay commands. You can find the full tutorial on the official huckster.io page. Once again, it would be advantageous to access a 3D printer in addition to all the requirements.

 Additional Requirements:

  • Erle Robotics PXFmini
  • HobbyKing Spec FPV250
  • Erle Robotics PXFmini Compatible Power Module
  • APM Flight Stack (Software)
  • Debian-Based Linux File System For Drones (Software)
  • Generic Soldering Iron
  • Philip and Star Screwdrivers

 

FAQs

 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Raspberry Pi Zero W

 

Can you use a Raspberry Pi Zero as a computer?

 

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a good ARM development board. While the Raspberry Pi Zero doesn’t have the pure raw power and specs of the Raspberry Pi 4, you can still use the Raspberry Pi Zero as a capable computer. Maker Pro has a tutorial discussing this.

 

What is the difference between the Raspberry Pi Zero W and WH?

 

The main difference between the Raspberry Pi Zero W and the Raspberry Pi Zero WH is that the latter has a pre-soldered GPIO header while the former does not. Thus, the Raspberry Pi Zero WH is suitable for people who do not want to sell the pins to the header manually. This process makes it a preferable board for prototyping.

 

Can Raspberry Pi Zero W run Pi-Hole?

 

The Raspberry Pi Zero W and the new Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W can run Pi-hole. you can visit Pi-Hole’s official documentation for a complete list of compatible Raspberry Pi devices.

 

What can I do with a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W?   

 

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is a small-scale microcontroller/single-board computer. Because of its miniature size, it is suitable for a litany of IoT and innovative home applications. You can use it for intelligent wildlife cameras, motion detectors, air quality sensors, brilliant home conversions, portable gaming consoles, water-level sensors, Bluetooth speakers, etc. Furthermore, it’s affordable enough to utilize for disposable projects.

 

Conclusion

 

The above article introduced you to some of Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W’s capabilities. It then explored 11 different Raspberry Pi Zero projects that you can pursue. We have tried to keep the projects included here as beginner-friendly as possible. However, you’ll notice a few advanced projects included in our suggestions. This guide should serve as an excellent first guide to enthusiasts and novice hardware engineers. Thus, we suggest you bookmark it and share it with your friends.